Return to Transcripts main page
CUOMO PRIME TIME
Mueller's Team: Manafort Lied after Pleading Guilty; Trump: CBP Defends Use of Tear Gas on Migrants on the Border; GOP's Mia Love Slams Trump in Her Concession Speech. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 26, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The news continues, I want to hand it over to Chris. "CUOMO PRIME TIME" starts now. Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, you forgot Uncle John. You forgot Trump's Uncle John. He had the Uncle John uncle.
COOPER: You are right, a very smart uncle.
CUOMO: At MIT, very smart, a scientist. He never spoke to him about global warming though.
CUOMO: And Uncle John was an electrical engineer.
COOPER: Yes, I remember that.
CUOMO: He had an Uncle John.
COOPER: Very smart guy.
CUOMO: And he says that makes him good at this kind of stuff.
COOPER: Right. I totally forgot it.
CUOMO: I mean, you know. And once you've factor that in, now it all makes sense. That's the only reason. It's good to see you, my friend. I hope you had a good break.
COOPER: Yes, you too.
CUOMO: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to Prime Time. I hope you all had a fantastic thanksgiving with your families and love ones as well.
Back to work. Mueller says, he caught Paul Manafort lying again and we have the man at the center of the migrant situation. What do you say? Let's get after it.
Big news tonight right off the top. He agreed to work with the special counsel's investigation. Now the Mueller team claims Paul Manafort chose to lie and lie even after his plea deal.
The former Trump campaign chair is looking at more time as a result. Prosecutors say Manafort breached the deal, lying on a variety of subjects two months after he started cooperating. The defense says, "Manafort believes he has provided truthful information." The key word is he believes. So maybe he didn't, but he thought he did. That's the law for you. They're going to take it to the judge for the sentencing. Both sides are asking the sentencing to go forward.
The special counsel's office says it will fill in some of the blanks in this twist down the road. What does it mean? Let's bring in Cuomo's Court, Asha Rangappa and James Schultz.
Good to have you both, especially on short notice.
The big question is, Asha is what was he lying about? Two possibilities. One is his money and the men who helped him make it. That he was never really forthcoming on all of it and Mueller kept picking up the pieces of the mendacity and eventually decided not to reward him for it anymore. Possible, yes?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's possible. Remember, Chris, that at sentencing, the prosecution will detail all of the lies that Manafort told and how they know that this is not true and also how it impeded their plea agreement or their investigation at this point. So we will see all of that laid out the same way that we did with George Papadopoulos.
I think what's key here is that Mueller knows that Manafort lied, which means that he has a lot of information in his position. And let's not forget Manafort that was the subject of two FISA orders before he even entered the campaign. So I'm guessing that Mueller has quite a lot of information on Manafort's activities leading up to the campaign and thereafter.
CUOMO: Hurts him as a witness a little bit if there were to be any type of prosecution because he is now someone who you know has a credibility problem, right?
RANGAPPA: Well sure. Yes, he is not somebody that's going to be believed.
RANGAPPA: But again, you know, Mueller presumably has quite a lot of information from many other cooperating witnesses and possibly things like electronic surveillance like I just mentioned.
CUOMO: And then comes the second possibility, Brother Schultz, and that is that Mueller has caught Manafort lying, concealing, dissembling information related to the campaign and the people connected thereto. And that's why it mattered enough for him to bring it up with the judge and want to have a change in the deal. What's your take on that?
JAMES SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: So there has to be written information. I agree, there has to be a lot of information that the FBI has. They want Mueller to cooperate. They probably gave --
CUOMO: Manafort. SCHULTZ: I'm sorry.
CUOMO: Don't try to confuse us, Schultz.
SCHULTZ: They probably gave him an opportunity to correct his testimony, because they want him to cooperate. They probably have information that he doesn't have access to. And now they're taking it before the judge for the termination. So this is a real problem. And judges are typically deferential to the prosecution in these instances.
CUOMO: What's your percentage chance, Jim, that it's a pardon play? A pardon play meaning that Manafort is betting that if he takes even harsher sentence for not telling the truth about things, the President may reward him down the line?
SCHULTZ: Like I said, I think this is about his version of testimony. This isn't about what maybe Rick Gates said and something that Manafort said. This is about documents. This is about testimony about documents that the FBI has, most likely. And who knows what the subject of those documents are? We're going to learn soon.
[21:05:16] CUOMO: Right. But the substance regardless, Asha, it could be a pardon play. You have seen plenty of that, I'm sure.
RANGAPPA: Sure. I think in some ways that's the only way to make sense of what is otherwise very irrational behavior. Manafort is now in a worse position than he would have been otherwise if he had just pleaded guilty. Because a judge is not going to take into account that he has continued to commit crimes even after the plea agreement. So this could be a pardon play. I don't know it will pan out. And then, of course, there is still the possibility of state charges.
I also think, Chris, that we need to think about the fact that this may have placed the President in potential jeopardy because he has turned in his answers to Mueller's questions. And according to Giuliani, he has a joint defense agreement with Manafort, which allows them to share information, which is typically used in mob cases to get your story straight. So if Trump's story was based on what Manafort was saying and Manafort is now caught out in multiple lies, then this is not great for the President because now his answers are in writing and submitted to Mueller.
SCHULTZ: No, I don't think we're -- I think it's a stretch to say that at this point in time. We don't know what this is about. This could be all about Manafort's finances. I keep saying Mueller. Manafort's finances, this could be all about that, nothing to do with the campaign. And remember, they wanted a credible witness to cooperate. And now they are finding -- the prosecution is finding they don't have a credible witness to cooperate. And that cooperation likely has to do with other portions of the probe.
CUOMO: Why is it so hard for Mueller to find people that they can trust to tell the truth around the President of the United States? SCHULTZ: Look, the folks that -- you know, Manafort has had a lot of
problems over the years. The problems that he had date back, long before he work for then candidate Trump, now President Trump, then Candidate Trump long before then, so to say that this has any tie to the President is just speculation at this point.
CUOMO: Well, Manafort was sitting in that meeting at Trump Tower, right? He was at the center of everything. They even made him orchestrate that awkward and foolish speech ploy with Melania and the former first lady Michelle Obama, right? Manafort even had to own that. So he was very integral to the operations while he was there. Anybody who was covering the campaign, let alone somebody who has known him for 25 years the way I have, know that that's the truth.
SCHULTZ: He worked for the campaign, yes. No one is denying that.
CUOMO: Integral is the word.
SCHULTZ: But that doesn't mean any of this has anything to do. He was integral to the convention piece of it, right? And then he was gone. And the campaign was run by other folks at that point in time. So to say that he was integral to the end is just not right.
CUOMO: No, but when he was there, he was running things in a very real way and making lots of enemies and eventually wound up getting taken out, which seems to be pretty much far for the cruise there. Asha, last word, go ahead.
RANGAPPA: Yeah. Let me just jump in. I think that especially if this has nothing to do with the President, I think it's hard to understand why the President is so sympathetic to him. Because at this point, what we know, as you mentioned, is we have someone integral, high up in the campaign who was a crook and potentially a Russian spy. And yet the President continues to speak fondly of him and says he was -- he has been treated unfairly, it has very sympathetic and may even give him a pardon. So it's hard to understand why he would do that if he had no other vested interest at all.
CUOMO: Is it?
RANGAPPA: Well, no, it's not that hard. OK.
CUOMO: Sometimes super smart people like you overlook the obvious things that we had like they cling to, like he is good to him because it's good for him. And as soon as that changes, he will go bad on him like did he to Michael Cohen. Jim Schultz, a man who I would have bet you anything that Donald Trump would never malign, never, not Michael Cohen, too loyal for too long knows and did too much for this man. And yet, as soon as it became convenient, under the bus went Brother Cohen.
SCHULTZ: Look --
RANGAPPA: That's true. But I think also Manafort is valuable -- Manafort is valuable to Russia also. And that's another -- you know, this is someone who worked closely with the pro-Russian-Ukrainian President. And we also know that President Trump wants to please Russia and Putin.
CUOMO: That's true.
RANGAPPA: So that could be another motivation here.
CUOMO: Maybe Paul Manafort when it's all over can help us understand why the President says nothing about Putin with what's going on in Ukraine right now.
I'm out of time. Thanks to both of you. Jim --
SCHULTZ: Let's remember --
SCHULTZ: -- no charges against Manafort in connection with his work on the campaign.
CUOMO: True. 100 percent true. But we have to know what he said and what he lied about. And we will know a lot more at the sentencing. We will rejoin at that time. Thanks to both of you.
[21:10:06] All right, so you saw the headline. Plants are closing. And I hope this isn't true but you may have noticed that your 401(k) is going the wrong way. But what about the robust economy? What about the jobs coming back? We have the reality and the reasons for it. Facts first next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look at what's happening with Ford and with General Motors in Michigan and Ohio. You look at the tremendous number of jobs that are being announced in so many different fields. That's what I'm proud of. They're all coming back. Don't move. Don't sell your house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: That was the President of the United States misleading you about the U.S. car industry. Take a look at all these cars. Don't expect to see any new ones on the road after next year. Today G.M., after buying back stock and getting a massive tax cut that's ballooning the deficit, it announced it's closing plants and cutting jobs to improve its bottom line. These are not performing or seen not part of the future. So they are all gone. That's CT6, I had a nice PowerPoint by the way.
So where? Five plants in total, one in Canada, two in Michigan and one in each of Ohio and Maryland. What does that mean exactly? Big cuts, 15 percent of its salaried work force, thousands of hourly workers, roughly 14,800 jobs, why? G.M. says it's all part of restructuring for the future. Taking steps to shift into self-driving and electric vehicles that customers want. Does that mean, you have to cut labor? Look, that's about bottom line. All right, this move will save the company $6 billion a year by the end of 2020. That is called addition to the bottom line by subtraction of expenses.
Now, there are some unique circumstances at play with G.M. We will give them a little fairness there. But there are other indicators that the U.S. economy could be slowing. Yes, slowing.
[21:15:09] So if you are wondering where the magic of tax cuts and all the talk about growth has gone, there is growth. But it's mostly a continuation of trends we saw under President Obama and then the current President juiced the situation by giving a lot more money to the rich and to big businesses.
Small businesses, too but they react differently to this type of tax adjustment. And I will show you how. The bet was a typical trickle down. You're seeing the uneven results as we did under Reagan the last time this was tried in a big way. And that was also the last time that we saw deficits like the ones that we're going to see now once again because of the result of the same type of fiscal lack of responsibility.
So why won't the tax cuts pay for themselves as the President and his ministers of magic imagined? Because they assumed the companies would pass along money to workers. That almost never happens.
Take a look. G.M., for example, it repurchased $10.6 billion of its own stock this year. This has been the biggest year for buybacks in corporate America. What does that tell you? You gave them more money. You just had the most stock buybacks ever. That's what they did with it.
But this is business. This isn't a criticism. It's not even cynicism. It's practicality. Businesses make money for investors, not to pass along to workers unless they have to. Some do sometimes but the numbers don't lie. You give them more money they spent it on themselves, period.
Other warning signs. Take a look at the housing market. You will see, which is a little bit of research if you're not seeing it in your own neighborhood, it's stumbling. It's been in a four-year slump. Why? Combination of factors. It has to a certain degree become a victim of the economy's success. How so? The Federal Reserve has kept inflation in check by raising interest rates.
What does that do to mortgages? Makes them more expensive, we all know that, right? At least one major bank is now asking for more cash down from 20 percent to 25 percent down. That's a sign that you want to be watchful of because it shows that lenders are getting careful. If they get tight with their money, there's nobody to borrow from. All right?
There's also a lot of supply in certain places. There's also a reasonable apprehension to make a purchase because of the Trumpian uncertainty in the air. There's another manifestation of that that's worth looking at. Uncertainty like I discussed and stock prices are a bad mix.
The equity markets are at risk of closing the year out in negative territory. This is the biggest sign of potential rough waters ahead for the economy. And look, I hope this doesn't turn out this way. But this is just what the fundamentals are telling us. And this is one of them.
Stock traders are about betting on the future. And they are clearly hedging their bets right now. October is always a messy month. Look for it now until the end of the year to see if they are just taking gains or they're making bets that could be a little frightening for the rest of us.
Now, that's one kind of uncertainty. Another kind that is certainly much more urgent is what's happening at the border. Tear gas was fired. Large groups of migrants are trying to force their way into the United States. Little kids were caught in all of it. The big question is, how do you fix it?
How does it get better? Who has to do what? There's one man that can answer these questions better than any other. He is the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He is here. He is going to answer the questions. It's great to have him on Prime Time, next.
[21:21:32] CUOMO: Bad things breaking out at the San Ysidro port of entry near Tijuana. The President falsely described the caravan as an invasion. Now, he seems intent on trying to make it as ugly as he imagined it. This picture captured a specific reality. See a mom pulling her kids, tear gas in the midst.
The key phrase we hear about the situation is not enough. Not enough judges, not enough compassion, not enough restraint and certainly not enough planning by the President despite all the pandering that was done and the lead up to the election about the threat.
Some 1,000 migrants tried to enter the U.S. by rushing the border, 69 did breach it. We are told they were arrested on the American side. Our border patrol agents fired tear gas on the ground in response, we are told, to what was being thrown at them. Again, mothers and kids were in those crowds. Once again, the President gave a different version of what we know to be the reality that was captured in this picture. This is what he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you comfortable tear gases children, like what we saw at the border?
TRUMP: They're not -- as you know, they're not -- they had to use because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it OK to use tear gas on children?
TRUMP: We don't use it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The problem if you shoot tear gas and there are women and children there, yes you are putting tear gas where they are. That's the reality of the situation. Lying about it doesn't make it harder to understand. Just last hour, he was asked about the use of tear gas. And again, here is what we got from the President of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It's very safe. You say, why is a parent running up into an area where they know tear gas is forming and it's going to be formed and they are running up with a child? In some cases you know they're not the parents. These are people, they called them grabbers. They grabbed a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He calls them grabbers. There is no grabber. Does that sometimes happen? Maybe. We haven't heard anything about that. We haven't heard about what the President just said. And he provided no evidence for the same.
But if you talk to witness accounts as we have done and you have seen on CNN today, video, pictures, it all tells that whatever they were getting sprayed with did the job, changed their eyes, made it hard to breathe. All the things that I experienced with tear gas more than once.
Now, this is all little parts of a much bigger situation. That may get worse before it gets better. And we have the perfect person to ask. The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is here, the largest law enforcement agency in the country.
The man in charge of what we are watching down there as far as U.S. involvement goes. Remember, this is still mostly a Mexican effort. We are very happy to have Commissioner Kevin McAleenan with us here on Prime Time. It's good to have you, Commissioner.
KEVIN MCALEENAN, COMMISSIONER, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Good to be here, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, thank you. And look, I know you are very, very busy right now. I know that this is something that's developing while we are speaking. So I appreciate the time and getting the word out to the audience. What can you tell us about the scale and the situation right now?
MCALEENAN: We had a very serious situation yesterday. As you have seen unfold on multiple video cameras, lots of media there, we had over 1,000 individuals involved in large group attempts to rush the border, both at our port of entry, at San Ysidro, the largest port of entry in north America, and at multiple points across almost a two miles stretch of our border over the international border fence and through the Tijuana River Channel.
That was the dynamic and dangerous situation. Our border patrol agents CBP officer responded with professionalism, and effectively resolved it without serious injury on either side of the border.
[21:25:14] CUOMO: Now, in terms of again, the scope of it. You say that there are people staging in Tijuana, that there are several thousand there. More you expect as many as close to 10,000 people may be there. How many are you expecting? How soon? And what are your concerns if that does happen?
MCALEENAN: That's correct, Chris. We have about 8,500 migrants that have been involved in the caravans, these large groups that have been crossing from Central America through Mexico over the last 5 1/2 weeks or so. They have now arrived in Baja, California, about 6,500 of them in Tijuana itself, the rest remaining in Mexicali (ph) and making that journey across the state of Baja, California.
We see follow-on groups of 1,000 to 2,000 that are broken up, making the journey from Mexico City, North through the state of Sonora and making their way to Baja, California as well.
CUOMO: What's your concern in terms of how long it will take to process and what you are expecting to come to the border?
MCALEENAN: That's what we are working on. We work very hard to process people arriving without documents, seeking asylum, lawfully at a port of entry every day. We do that about 300 a day, across our 26 crossing the El Chaparral border.
Now, with these large groups forming, and with the request to have people present lawfully at ports of entry, that's something we need to work on with Mexico. How do you manage this large group, provide access to a lawful process and of course Mexico has gone out of their way to provide protection, to offer asylum, to offer work in Mexico to this group? And a number of the migrants have taken advantage of that. Others say they want to wait to present to the U.S. and then of course, we saw over 1,000 of them try a different route yesterday.
CUOMO: What does the law say about where you get to present for asylum?
MCALEENAN: Well, as you have seen unfold over the last week or so, the President issued an executive order which directed that people seeking asylum should come to ports of entry. That's the lawful and safe way to do it. You don't have to pay a smuggler.
You don't have to put your family's life at risk by crossing illegally between ports of entry. District court in the Ninth Circuit enjoined that order. So again, the law -- whether people cross illegally or present at a port of entry, ultimately they can still request asylum in the United States.
CUOMO: Yes. I mean, you can't change legislation by executive order. I mean, look, that's not your job. You are not a politician. But the President was openly critical of President Obama for doing exactly that with DACA. He tried the same thing here. He got the result he got in court.
Let's talk about the acute situation that you had to deal with. What is your understanding of what happened that led to the officers responding?
MCALEENAN: Yes. So we had several very dangerous and challenging situations at multiple points of the day yesterday and at multiple areas of the border. After the caravan, who is marching relatively peacefully and ordinarily toward the El Chaparral, that's the Mexican side of the San Ysidro port of entry, the federal police tried to stop them.
They didn't want them to stop traffic, lawful traffic. We had 115,000 people a day that cross the border each direction every day, a huge amount of commerce, lawful travel, people going to school, people going to medical appointments.
The Mexican police wanted to prevent that from being disrupted. Unfortunately, the migrants pushed through them, overwhelmed them, went around them and down through the Tijuana River Channel and then tried to enter the U.S. unlawfully to the south bound lanes of the port of entry.
We responded and prevented that access at the borderline. They went back around at San Ysidro and then started to look for a weak spot in the International Border Fence on the east side of San Ysidro. At several points they tried to tear down parts of the wall and make a large group entry.
And it was in those engagements where people started throwing rocks, assaulting our agents. We had four agents hit with rocks. Thankfully, they were wearing protective gear. We don't have any serious injuries. But they did have to respond to resolve those assaulting engagements as safely as possible with less lethal pepper ball spray as C.S. gas.
CUOMO: Tear gas?
CUOMO: Is there such a thing as the good kind of tear gas? Every tear gas I have been hit with has been nasty. There's only one kind, right? I get what pepper balls are. That's something else. Tear gas is tear gas, right?
MCALEENAN: Yes. The C.S. gas we deploy is standard law enforcement issue.
CUOMO: Right, there's one kind is what I'm saying?
MCALEENAN: Yes. It's in our equipment inventory. All of our agents have to experience it like you did before they carry it, much less deploy it.
CUOMO: Right. Why did they need to use that when you knew you had women and kids out there? MCALEENAN: So again, the people facing our agents were adult males
throwing rocks. That was the lead element who was threatening our agents. That's what they responded to with the less lethal devices. And it was effective at ending that threat, moving the situation back safely into Mexico and dispersing the group.
[21:30:05] CUOMO: What about the women and children?
MCALEENAN: Very unfortunate that parents are putting their children at risk and bringing them into that situation to try to rush through the border illegally and being present for that kind of interaction.
If people are throwing rocks nearby, you are facing law enforcement professionals, it's not a good play for you to have your children. So it's very unfortunate that some children and women had to rush away from the gas and were affected.
CUOMO: Right. Right, I just want to try and get it straight for the audience what was going on. And again, this isn't about you having to own what the President says. He wasn't there. I don't know where he is getting his information. The idea that a lot of officers were seriously hurt and that's why this had to be done, that's not true.
They were hurt but thank God they had the right equipment on. They didn't have to save their lives in situation. So that's good for the audience to understand. But the idea that the parents were putting the kids in harm's way, Commissioner, why, if they are making a run for it -- that's what they are trying to do, they're trying to get across the border. There was no way to avoid putting tear gas where those mothers and kids were?
MCALEENAN: So it's inherently dangerous to try to enter with a large group making a rush across the border.
MCALEENAN: When lead elements of that group are throwing rocks to try to back off a border patrol agents who are trying to prevent that dangerous situation from unfolding, you have to be aware that we have to resolve that and secure that border.
CUOMO: Was there an order given by you or other in command saying, this is what you do if this happens?
MCALEENAN: That's not how law enforcement use of force works. It's up to the professional law enforcement agents and officers on the ground who go through rigorous training, who have to follow strict use of force policy that's in constitutional parameters, that's tested and trained and use equipment that we have vetted, verified and they have been certified to use. So it's based on that individual officer's perception, the totality of the circumstances they face to choose what method to resolve that situation with.
CUOMO: You are going to review it, I know that. The Mexican authorities are also asking for it to be reviewed. That is an interesting point that they are making, commissioner. They are saying, we didn't do this, we didn't need to do that. We were dealing with the same thing the Americans were. We don't use those methods. We think they are inhumane.
MCALEENAN: Candidly, the officers did get overwhelmed by this group at the start of the incident. They did a very good job protecting the port of entry, El Chaparral and San Ysidro, which were the top priorities. But obviously, this group ranged far and wide along the border and tried to breach it in multiple points. There were no Mexican officials in the immediate vicinity helping resolve the situation at the time. It was left to our border patrol agents to address the challenges at the border.
CUOMO: Now, what you are telling me about what the reality was, mothers and children weren't being targeted by the individuals, they were in groups that were trying to rush across and they wound up being part of the area where the tear gas was put, but they weren't the target. OK. I understand the story. I don't know better than you are telling me.
I want to put something up for the audience though that's different than what you are saying. And this comes from DHS. Now, again, she doesn't have the authority than you do. These are not her men and women on the ground the way yours are. She's not getting the information than you do.
But she says it appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as human shields when they confront law enforcement. I will tell you what's troubling about that, commissioner and I don't want you guys to get on top of each other.
But you know I don't have to tell you this, you've been working for the American people for a long time. You are a lawyer and an officer of the court. You work for the people watching this show.
And I haven't heard that from any other verifiable source, that these kids only exist to be human shields, that the guys were having them in front, I can't find a single photo, I can't find any video of guys throwing a rock -- like we have seen in other part of the world in there are women and children right in front of them to create an impossible situation for those. Do you know of that happening?
MCALEENAN: Well, our border patrol chief, Rodney Scott, who was on the scene for the entire event in multiple places where these engagements occurred, did note that today. He actually stated that in an interview that we did see women and children being pushed to the front or included in the front of an assaulted group.
CUOMO: Not because they wanted them to get through first? Women and children first?
MCALEENAN: No. That's not my understanding of what he saw. He saw people throwing rocks right next to women and children. They did that actually behind members of the media as well. I have seen video of a scene where rock throwers are hiding behind camera people taking photographs of them while they are throwing the rocks. So it was a really dynamic, challenging situation that our agents tried to resolve as safely as possible. And we're really successful overall.
CUOMO: One more thing about what we are dealing with right now. That happened yesterday. There's no reason to believe it won't keep happening because of the process that you are dealing with. And you were there to understand the flow during the Obama years.
And we've seen years where there were more people who came across than are coming now, but not in this size of group. So you have the size of the caravans and the limitations of your resources although, you are the largest law enforcement agency. And now, you have that the asylum procedure, not by your doing but by the executive branch, by the White House and by the agencies involved, has been made more tedious and longer.
That sounds like a terrible combination, longer process to get asylum, less judges. You don't have more judges like had been requested. And you have a huger group of people. I mean, how do you see the future here?
[21:35:31] MCALEENAN: Yes, it's extraordinarily challenging, Chris. I mean, first let me just comment on the caravan. We have been seeing it for year weeks. This is different phenomenon, a large caravan crossing with violence across two international borders, primarily adult male. Not like prior caravans last spring and the year before.
This is a different phenomenon. Again, they used force against Mexican police. They used force to try to enter the country yesterday. This is a different group. Also, the size, as you noted. We have not seen caravans come together at this scope and size to have 8,500 people in one Mexican state at the same time intending to be a cohesive group to approach the border. That's new, that's different. And that's a challenge.
In terms of the structure, I mean, the incoming Congress is really going to have to grapple with the fact that the legal framework that we maintain is inviting and incentivizing this kind of challenge, this kind of behavior. Alongside this 8500 people we have in Baja California over the last five and a half weeks since this group formed, we have seen over 60,000 people either crossed our border illegally, 85 percent of them or arrive at our ports of entry and claim asylum lawfully.
That's a massive flow. And they know they are going to be released into the United States if they make an asylum claim to await a court proceeding that could be years out, whether Congress needs to face a reality of that. And in that process, they are paying smugglers, they're putting themselves and their children at risk.
And it's a dynamic that it's really not sustainable or safe for anyone. We have vulnerable people in the hands of violent criminals throughout this cycle. And that's not a good place to be.
CUOMO: Did what happened yesterday put at the top of your mind to tell the officers, many of whom are Latino, many of whom who have families that migrated the way we are seeing here now, that be careful with that tear gas, don't put it there where there are women and children, there are other ways to deal with it? And look, I'm not the one there.
I'm not there who has to take the rocks. But I'm not the one with the training in the equipment. Is that a moment where you guys are now going to say to them, don't do that unless you absolutely have to because forget about optics, the reality of what is means for those women and children is horrible. You and I both been around tear gas. I can't imagine what it would be like for one of our kids.
MCALEENAN: Yes. That's the last thing we want to have happen. Let me just say, Chris, we have worked very hard on our use of force policy, our training, our tactics and our procedures. And it's done through a rigorous, self-critical, transparent process after every incident.
We issued a new policy in 2014. In the five years since that new policy has been in place, we have reduced uses of lethal force at the border, these are fire arms from 55 to 15 last year, because we're using lethal devices, because we're employing safe tactics to resolve uses.
The second piece of that is study any use of force that we have happened. To look at it from a tactics and training perspective, to look at it from a policy perspective and ensure that we're constantly improving what we do.
Right now, under Chief Scott's leadership, the team in San Diego is evaluating the use of force yesterday, they included the less lethal and seeing what they can learn from that and how to improve for unfortunately what we might see as future engagements along these lines.
CUOMO: All right, Commissioner McAleenan, as I've said to you in the past, you'll always have this forum on the show to tell the American people what's going on and what needs to make this process high with indicators of respect and also law enforcement. And if the situation down that requires that you give me call, I'm there within hours.
MCALEENAN: Thanks for the opportunity for this conversation, Chris.
CUOMO: Commissioner, be well.
MCALEENAN: Good evening.
CUOMO: All right, so Trump took shots at everybody. Full stuff, let's go to commercial. But one in particular requires a little bit of re-examination. Do you remember Mia Love? OK, today, the Republican Congresswoman finally conceded but she had a heck of a race.
And she would have been a big burst, and she did big things for that party. However, he said she gave him no love before. She really gave him no love today. Wait until you hear what Mia Love said about the President and the party next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:43:06] CUOMO: Republican Congresswoman Mia Love made waves in her concession speech today by taking shots at her own party and the President for his comments about her. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIA LOVE (R), UTAH: This election experience and these comments shines a spotlight on the problems Washington politicians have with my minorities and black Americans. It's transactional. It's not personal. Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and citizens into their homes and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home, or at least make them feel like they have a home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Strong medicine. Now, you may remember Trump had declared that Mia Love lost her election on election night. Votes were still being counted. I don't know why the President doesn't seem to get that. But this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. It's too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Were her attacks on Trump and the GOP true/fair? To the great debate. Symone Sanders and Niger Innis.
Niger, you are transactional, my brother. That's the problem with you, people, when it comes to how you deal with African-Americans as constituents. As potential voters, you want their vote but you don't really care about them. That's what Mia Love just said.
NIGER INNIS, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: Mia is a friend of mine. A Tea Party PAC that I led when she first ran gave her money. I think she -- I was heartbroken when she lost, heartbroken for her personally but more heartbroken actually for the people of Utah that are losing a great leader. But I disagree violently with Mia on this question.
The fact is, if the Republican Party is guilty of anything, it is not engaging the black community enough and taking that vote seriously enough. It's not transactional. The black community gets less than 8 percent of its vote normally to the Republican Party.
[21:45:09] CUOMO: Then why did she say it?
INNIS: There's no transaction being made. I wish it was more transactional than it is.
CUOMO: Why did she say it?
INNIS: I think Mia was -- it was one hell of a race, OK. I think the President was wrong even though he has his justifications. He was wrong to hit her when she was down. And I think she is sore at that. She's sore at a loss. She's also sore at the Democrat that she felt very unfairly dragged her name through the mud to win the election. I think she is licking wounds. And I think that she needs time to recover. But I have to disagree with my friend Mia on this question.
CUOMO: Interesting point there, Symone is that she didn't go after the President. She went after how he was talking about African- Americans. And about what he really wants and what people in her party really want when it comes to them. I have never heard a Republican say anything like that before.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I haven't either, Chris. And I think if I remember correctly, the transactional comment was referring to President Trump specifically in that he doesn't have relationships, he is all about what he can get or what you can do for him. And I think that actual assessment, if you will of the President, is true. And we have seen that in other respects.
Look, I don't think people of color in this country, black Americans or anyone otherwise, should blindly give their vote to any political party. I think that there's work that each political party has to do to earn the votes of Americans, of all edge ethnicity and race.
CUOMO: I agree with you.
SANDERS: With that being said -- yes, absolutely. And you know, and I have an article in the November issue of the Essence Magazine talking specifically about this issue. With that being said, I will say that Mia Love's assessment, if you will, her short assessment of the Republican Party is that they are not doing the necessary work to truly earn the votes of people of color, a large swath of votes of people of color, particularly black Americans in this country.
And I would think that would prove to be true. There was an assessment in 2012 that was done after Mitt Romney lost. And I think particularly with everything that has happened since that time, the Republican Party has really moved away from where they said they wanted to go. So I think it's not healthy in America to have one political party that seems to have a monopoly on the support of people of color in this country.
The monopoly meaning seemly because I think the Democratic Party has done a better job in communicating with voters of color. I think it would be healthy if the Republican Party could do a better job of communicating with and earning the support and votes of people of color in this country.
INNIS: Chris, I got to say, unfortunately, this isn't the great debate. This is the great symphony because there are a lot of things that Symone said that I agree with 100 percent.
INNIS: The fact to the matter is there are -- there's a great deal of support for the President and Republican parties, conservative principals, if they stay true to those within the black community. You have polls going from 12 percent shown by Axios and MSNBC all the way up to 36 percent by Rasmus (ph) in showing the level of support in the black community for the President.
But the Republican Party, it's gold, but they have to go out and fine the gold and big the gold and develop it. So in that sense, I actually agree with Symone but let me just bring up one other point. Mia, again, a friend, OK, I say with love, no point intended but Mia before the election in 2016, was part of a group called Never Trumpers.
There were 160 prominent elected officials, commentators, some of whom commentate on CNN that openly said that they would vote for Hillary Clinton or not vote for President Trump. The President has a very, very long memory about these things. And you have some of those folks like Lindsey Graham who was on that list but after the election really built a partnership and alliance that shocked a lot of people.
CUOMO: That's for sure.
INNIS: Where is the president, I don't know --
CUOMO: I will give you the shocking part. But let me introduce something else to this.
SANDERS: Chris, can I say something?
CUOMO: All right, go ahead Symone and then I want to introduce something else.
SANDERS: I want to note that Mia Love is a Haitian American. She is a first generation Haitian in America.
SANDERS: And so if Donald Trump thought that earning the vote of Mia Love encompassed referring to African countries as shit hole countries and encompassed disparaging and debasing Haitian people, which is what he has done since he has been President on many occasions, I don't think he wanted her to earn the vote necessarily of her or even the people that she represents in Utah. So I think that's an important point.
CUOMO: That's the complication to the conservative argument, right? I know lots of African American people who would identify as conservative in terms of how they live their lives and what they want for their families. However, when you support people that are way too close to bigoted notions, you will lose them forever.
Niger, I don't have to tell you this. You grew up dealing with this paradox. The President's down there in Mississippi. He's backing somebody in Cindy Hyde-Smith who would never get any type of endorsement from any type of African-American situation. It would not happen. No society.
Corey Stewart he backed in Virginia, would never get any type of endorsement from any type of African-American organization ever. Roy Moore, same story. And even if it's not just about --
[21:50:26] INNIS: Roy is a little different. Roy's problem was the allegations against him about molestation. It wasn't racism.
SANDERS: Yes, that he was a pedophile.
CUOMO: Roy Moore had a long history. I've gone at it more than once about things, and I'm saying that I'm wondering if you can explain. Why does a Donald Trump who keeps saying, don't call me a bigot. I'm the least racist person you'll ever meet in your life -- why would he ever support a Corey Stewart, a Roy Moore, or a Cindy Hyde-Smith? Would you?
INNIS: I don't know Cindy Hyde-Smith.
CUOMO: You know what she said.
INNIS: I don't know that I would put her into that category. I know what she said was sloppy. It was stupid. And quite frankly, it is -- it is an insult to white Mississippians who have come a long way. I know many of them who have come a long way and have turned the page on that kind of talk many, many, many years ago. But having said that, you know, so I don't want to -- what she said was wrong. It was offensive, and she should have apologized, and she did. I don't know that I would label her and put her into that category.
SANDERS: What about sending her daughter and her -- what about the fact she attended a segregationist high school and then voluntarily elected to send her daughter to segregation high school. Now, frankly, I'm not calling Cindy Hyde-Smith a racist, but I am saying that there's some very questionable things going on, and she's clearly not for all Mississippians. On top of all of that, she was onboard with taking away pre-existing conditions. I mean, really?
CUOMO: Well, but that's a policy argument. And it's a humanitarian argument, you can even argue. But I just -- I wanted to stick something else on to that other issue because it's really puzzling.
If you want to get African-American voters, why would you ever back anybody, endorse anyone that you know warms up to bigotry the way these individuals do? I don't get it. But I'm out of time. Niger, we'll keep discussing this. It's a long conversation. Symone Sanders, always a pleasure. Thank you to both of you.
INNIS: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, Paul Manafort accused tonight of lying again to Robert Mueller even after making his plea deal. Big questions in the Russia probe may still be unanswered, may always be unanswered. But there's something going on in the world right now that you're not paying attention to that shines such a bright light on something we need to know. The closing is next.
[21:56:09] CUOMO: The Mueller report is coming sooner than later by all indications. But here's the argument. Expectations. Do you expect that you're going to get all the answers? Did you expect that you're going to be satisfied?
Here's my argument. If you think Mueller is going to take down the President with his report, that will be highly unlikely. Why? Well, if for no other reason, the DOJ guidance restricting the ability to indict or even prosecute a sitting President prior to impeachment. All right?
That, and we have seen no action on anyone that suggests anything like, and now that's how it links to the President. Could I be wrong? 100 percent. But this isn't just a guess either. Why? Prosecutions follow patterns, and if there were going to be more prosecutions like what we've seen, there would be connective tissue with what preceded them.
Not always, but usually. And we haven't seen that yet. Could we still? Yes. Could the probe end with respect to the President but continue with respect to others and threads? Yes. How do I know that? Well, that's even what the President's own attorneys think. If you think the President and all his people will be shown to have done everything right, that is also highly unlikely.
Clearly there were many around the President who were all too anxious to solicit and receive information from bad and arguably illegal sources. And actions taken by those in power including the President that may not be illegal, but that is a very low bar for responsible behavior. But here's one thing that continues to puzzle so many, and it's also going to go unanswered, I suspect. And that is why does this President seem so supple when it comes to Vladimir Putin?
Look at what's happening right now in Ukraine. I know you guys aren't that interested, but you should be, and here are two reasons. One, Russia just rammed and robbed several Ukraine ships. They took their sailors after injuring them, and they don't give a damn what anybody says about it.
You're watching what happened. Our President says, I'm not happy about it, but he sees it as a both sides issue. No other leader of a democracy said anything like that. His own secretary of state didn't say anything like that.
Russia has done bad things in Ukraine. A plane was shot down there, Mh-17. Remember that? I was there. The guy who's were there securing the site that's behind me said they were Russians. They were working for a Russian who proclaimed himself the prime minister of a region of Ukraine. They left the dead to lie in fields, un-respected, no dignity for the dead.
Local farmers had to risk their lives and get in the faces of armed men, who said they were Russian, demanding respect for the dead and for the inspectors. I watched it all happen in real-time.
Now, President Trump spoke about all this in 2014. When the Crimea annexation was going on, he called out President Obama. He called out the way he was with Putin, said he was too soft. He said a President of the United States must take fierce steps to prevent escalation. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We should definitely do sanctions, and we have to show some strength. I mean Putin has eaten Obama's lunch, therefore our lunch for a long period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Well, Vladimir Putin's been having three-course meals day in, day out under this administration. And now Trump is in a similar position to that which Obama was, and he is not the man he suggested Obama should have been. Why not? What changed? Why have the secretary of state say what the President should have? What is it about Putin that makes this man so malleable? He is tougher on the American press than he is on Vladimir Putin, even his own staff he's tougher on than he is on Putin. Why? That's a question that I don't know we'll ever get the answer.
Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" starts with Don Lemon right now. Maybe you know.